Library Literacy vs. Street Sign Literacy

Dave Perell, in his Monday Musings newsletter, described something I was also thinking about in the back of my head.

I’ve long believed that we’re experiencing a decline in advanced literacy.

On this topic, I don’t really care what the statistics say because they’re misleading. Official literacy rates measure what I call Street Sign Literacy,” which is the ability to read signs and basic articles, and we are undoubtedly getting better at it.

But we are getting worse at Library Literacy, which gives you the ability to understand logic and think about ideas abstractly. It’s what you learn when you read dense fiction or difficult philosophy, and we don’t really measure it.

In short, you need Street Sign Literacy to live, but you need Library Literacy to think.

The ability to think abstractly and logically seems like a lost art to the world today with conspiracy theories and anti-intellectualism running rampant.

May 12, 2021